Case Study: Evolving Marketing Mix From Paid Advertising to SEO


Monthly prospective client inquiries grow from under 20 to over 300 during a 3-year engagement.


$3,500-$12,000/month split between PPC, directory advertising and SEO.


Mid sized firm with statewide practice in one of the largest states. The firm exploits a very specific, underserved market niche.


This is a long standing Mockingbird client who has experienced massive growth by a)identifying and attacking an underserved market and b)constantly evolving a mix of multiple channels (SEO, Google Ads, Bing Ads and Avvo) to drive a slow but steady increase in potential customers.

Marketing Tactics

The primary take away from this case is the constantly evolving mix of SEO versus advertising. During the early stages of the engagement, when the site lacked both content and authority for SEO success, we relied heavily on paid campaigns. This period lasted through 2016. During 2017, as the SEO improvements began to pay off in increased traffic, advertising budget was gradually trimmed. By the end of 2018, advertising budgets had been trimmed to 37% of the initial spend. SEO improvements included managing a spammy backlink profile from a previous vendor, leveraging nationwide PR campaigns to drive extremely high quality backlinks, implementation of video and aggressive content map expansion.

Additionally, note the point in February of 2018 in which Mockingbird redesigned the website and performed a complete technical overhaul. This resulted in a short-lived (less than a week) drop in traffic followed by a persistent 8% increase in SEO traffic.

Advanced Reporting

The client implemented sophisticated technical and human systems to quickly and accurate calculate not only cost per inquiry but also cost per client. This includes tracking infrastructure from CallRail, online form submissions, Avvo’s Ignite tool and custom built case management software. The business focused data enables the firm to shift budgets around to the most cost effective marketing channels and balance client growth between long and short term objectives.

SEO now accounts for 95% of new clients and advertising just 5% – a mirror image to performance from just three years prior. This shift has been in response to competitors moving into the advertising market– increasing overall PPC costs. Most importantly, cost per client has dropped drastically and the firm has established long term dominance in the organic search results.